Chocolate fans should make the most of Easter due to warnings that an increase in the wholesale price of cocoa could make the well-loved treat much more expensive.
According to Rabobank, a food and agribusiness bank, the cost of the sought-after commodity is driven by the growing middle classes and the shift to premium chocolate products that are offered in established markets such as the United Kingdom. The bank added that the price of cocoa s has surged by over 30 percent in 2018 amid worries regarding the quality and size of crops in some key growing areas in Africa.
Rabobank is expecting a significant drop in the production if farmers in one of the main suppliers of cocoa, Cote D’Ivoire, fail to receive a higher price for their beans, which could lead to a supply deficit of cocoa, further pushing up the price of beans.
It warned that this, in turn, could make the production of chocolate more expensive, which may result in higher consumer prices later in 2018.
Currently, the wholesale price of cocoa is about 2,550 US dollars (£1,820) for every tonne.
The commodity analyst at Rabobank, Charles Clack, stated: “Cocoa has been one of the most sought-after commodities for some time now.
“This year the cocoa market has been relentless with concerns about crops in Africa supporting the price. Fears now surround whether the internal prices paid will be high enough to encourage West African farmers to maintain production levels.
“If they aren’t and we end up with a global cocoa deficit, this could push up prices. Eventually, this would reach consumers, who could see the price of their chocolate increase by the end of the year.
“So while they should enjoy this weekend’s chocolate, the outlook may not be quite so sweet.”